By Bob Elliott
The Blue Jays hit 231 home runs this season.
What were their personal favorites and the favorite a teammate hit heading into the best-of-five American League Division Series against the Texas Rangers on Thursday.
Josh Donaldson, who hit 41 homers, the farthest 469 feet to left field facing Baltimore Orioles’ Chris Tillman in a 7-6 win at the Rogers Centre April 23.
His own fave: “The home run I hit off Matt Boyd, it felt the best coming off the bat.”
Donaldson homered in the third inning to left after Troy Tulowitzki homered for a 3-1 lead on the way to a 5-3 win over the Tigers on Aug. 28 to move 1 1/2 games up.
His personal fave: “Jose Bautista’s in Baltimore after Darren O’Day threw a pitch behind him.”
Jose Bautista, who hit 40 homers, the farthest 445 feet off Los Angeles Angels Cesar Ramos, at the Rogers Centre May 18 in a 10-6 win as the Jays moved to within 4 1/2 games of first.
His own fave: “Off Baltimore’s Jason Garcia at home, that’s when the Orioles started all that stuff.”
Garcia buzzed Bautista with the Jays leading 11-4, Bautista homered deep to centre to score Donaldson and took his time running the bases on April 24 at the Rogers Centre. The Jays won 13-6 to move with two games of the first-place Boston Red Sox. After the final out Adam Jones and Bautista chirped each other. Delmon Young led off with a single to right and Bautista came up trying to throw out Young at first. He aggravated a shoulder injury and spent the next 33 starts at DH.
His personal fave: “Donaldson with his walk-off homer in our final home game of the schedule.”
Edwin Encarnacion, who hit 39 homers, the farthest 471 feet off Aug. 5 facing J.R. Graham of the Minnesota Twins, at the Rogers Centre.
His own fave: “The walk off I hit to centre against Miami.”
The Jays entered the bottom of the ninth losing 3-2 with A.J. Ramos on the close. Donaldson led off with a single and one out later, Encarnacion hit the first pitch over the centre-field fence for the walk-off victory on June 9 as the Jays remained four games behind the first-place Yankees.
His personal fave: “Donaldson’s walk off in the final home game of the regular season.”
Russell Martin, who hit 23 home runs, his farthest was 443 feet against Atlanta’s Julio Teheran on April 17.
His own fave: “Against the Yankees, because of the situation, we were leading 1-0 in the seventh, I never feel comfortable with a one-run lead. It changed the complexion of the game.”
Donaldson doubled leading off the seventh and an out later, Encarnacion was walked intentionally, Martin then hit a 2-2 pitch to left off Andrew Bailey.
His personal fave: “Donaldson’s walk-off homers, every win is big, they don’t get any bigger than walk-off homers.”
Justin Smoak, who hit 18 homers, his longest tape-measure shot 452 feet facing Boston’s Robbie Ross at the Rogers Centre July 1.
His own fave: “At Yankee Stadium, we were scoreless in the sixth and I hit a grand slam off Ivan Nova, they told me it was the first-ever grand slam by a Blue Jay at Yankee Stadium.”
The slam put the Jays up 4-0 scoring Donaldson, Bautista and Encarnacion, on Aug. 8 on their way to a 6-0 win moving the Jays to within 2 1/2 games of the Yankees.
His personal fave: “All the walk-off home runs we’ve had. I can’t pick one over any of the others.”
Chris Colabello, who hit 15 homers, his longest tape-measure shot 442 feet facing Oakland’s Aaron Brooks at the Rogers Centre Aug 12.
His own fave: “The ninth-inning homer I hit in Minneapolis. It was a tie game and you always want to do well against your old team.”
The former Twin came to the plate after Russell Martin led off with a walk and his the first pitch from Twins closer Glenn Perkins to deep left centre May 29. The drive made a winner of Mark Buehrle who had allowed four runs in the first. The win moved the Jays to within 2 1/2 games of first-place Yankees.
His personal fave: “Donaldson’s home run against David Robertson for the walk off. That whole inning: Thole battled and got a base hit, Jose Reyes doubled and then Donaldson went deep.”
Kevin Pillar, who hit 12 homers, his longest tape-measure shots were both 419 feet -- off Luis Severino Sept. 22 of the Yankees and against Tampa Bay’s Jake Odorizzi Sept. 25 -- and both at the Rogers Centre.
His own fave: “My second one of Max Scherzer in the second game of the doubleheader, it’s something I’d never done before -- hit two home runs in one game -- and obviously I’ve never done it against a pitcher of that calibre. Plus, we were not playing too well at the time.”
Pillar hit a solo homer in the second to left for a 1-0 lead and a three-run homer in the sixth for a 4-3 lead as the Jays beat the Washington Nationals 7-3 June 2 at Nationals Park as the Jays remained in last 4 1/2 games back of the first-place Yankees.
His personal fave: “Bautista’s homer in Baltimore after he was knocked down by O’Day.”
Bautista was knocked down with the Jays leading by a run and then hit a two-run homer to deep left centre in a 10-7 win.
Devon Travis, who hit eight homers in 239 plate appearances, his farthest came April 22 travelled 429 feet against Baltimore’s Ubaldo Jimenez at the Rogers Centre.
His own fave: “My first one but I don’t remember anything about it, except it was at Yankee Stadium. I totally blocked out. They gave me the silent treatment, I do remember that.”
With the Jays leading 5-1 in the season opener, Travis homered deep to left, a solo shot off reliever Chasen Shreve.
His personal fave: “Donaldson’s first walk off at home against Atlanta. It was the first walk-off homer I’d ever seen.”
The Jays and the Braves were deadlocked 5-5 in the bottom of the 10th when Donaldson hit a 1-0 pitch to deep left off Sugar Ray Marimon.
Ryan Goins, who hit five home runs, his longest 422 feet to right centre in the third inning off Ervin Santana in second inning of a 5-1 win over the Minnesota Twins to move within 5 1/2 games of the Yankees.
His own fave: “My walk off (Sept. 1) at home, I hit a slider to right (off Bryan Shaw) with a man (Ezequiel Carrera was pinch-running for Dioner Navarro who had singled).”
The homer gave the Jays a 5-3 win in 10 innings and kept their lead at 1 1/2 games.
His personal fave: “Donaldson’s walk-off homer against David Robertson. And the next day he homered with one out in the bottom of the ninth to force extras.”
The Jays were losing 9-7 heading into the bottom of the 10th May 26. Jose Thole singled and Jose Reyes doubled him to third. Donaldson hit a 1-1 pitch down the right-field line for a three-run walk-off winner as the Jays moved to within three games of first.
The next day after Donaldson forced extras with a game-tying homer off Robertson, Jose Abreu tripled, Adam LaRoche and Gordon Beckham singled for a 5-3 win as the Jays fell four games back.
Dioner Navarro, five home runs, the longest 392 feet, Rogers Centre off Andrew Miller, Yankees, Sept. 22, Jays losing 3-2 bottom of the ninth.
His own fave: “The one against Miller, bottom of the ninth, down a run, I had one thing in mind. He threw me a fastball up. It was the most important one, considering the pennant race and where we were.”
(The Yanks scored three in the 10th, the Jays one in the bottom half to lose 6-4. The Jays lead was cut to 2 1/2 games.)
His personal fave: Encarnacion’s grand slam Aug. 29 at the Rogers Centre to put the Jays up 13-1 in seventh inning off Alex Wilson to score Tulowitzki, Pennington and Bautista on the way to a 15-1 victory to remain 1 1/2 games up.
“People were throwing their hats. I was sitting beside him in the dugout and he had no idea what was happening. I don’t know hockey, but I know soccer. I knew what they were doing: you throw your hat after a hat trick and three homers is a hat trick.”
Troy Tulowitzki, 17 home runs, five with the Blue Jays, his longest 460 to left-centre field off Phillies starter Jerome Williams, Phillies, July 29 at the Rogers Centre, a two-run shot to score Goins.
His own fave: “It would have to be my first game, I struck out in my first at-bat with my new team, then hit a heater to left-centre.”
The Jays won 8-2 to move within eight games of the first place Yankees.
His personal fave: “Our last home game, I don’t know how many guys have done that in the final home game of the regular season: a walk-off homer by Donaldson. He’s going for the MVP. That didn’t hurt his chances.”
Ezequiel Carrera hit three homers, his farthest was 366 feet July 26 at Safeco Field in Seattle off Mariners’ David Rollins as the Jays fell 6-5 in walk-off fashion to fall 5 1/2 games behind the Yankees,
His own fave: “Father’s day at home against Baltimore.”
Carrera went deep June 21 against Chris Tillman as the Jays lost 13-9 to remain three games back.
His personal fave: “The day Edwin hit the three home runs and fans threw their hats.”
Dalton Pompey hit two homers, his farthest 421 feet at the Rogers Centre April 15 against Tampa Bay’s Ernesto Frieri.
His own fave: “Ìt would have to be my first one in Baltimore off Tillman.”
Reyes led off with a single and Pompey hit a 1-0 pitch on a line to deep right field as the Jays went on to win 10-7 on April 12 and move into a tie with Boston for top spot.
His personal fave: “Goins’ walk off against Cleveland. Not to take anything away from Ryan but no one expected it. He’s not Donaldson or Bautista. Ryan was an unlikely hero.”
Cliff Pennington had three homers, two with the Blue Jays, his farthest, 400 feet to right field off Nova as the Jays won the second game of the doubleheader 10-7 over New York on Sept. 12 to move 4 1/2 games up.
His own fave: “My first one at Yankee Stadium, I was behind 0-2 and hit a 2-2 fastball to right for a two-run homer.”
The Jays were leading 1-0 with Pennington lined a pitch to right for a 3-0 lead.
His personal fave: “Goins’ walk-off against Cleveland.”
Ben Revere, who has hit two homers, one with the Jays, 377 feet off Michael Pineda Sept. 12.
His own fave: “We were losing 4-1 at Yankee Stadium in the fifth inning.”
The Jays scored four runs in the top of the 11th on Sept. 12 in the first game of the doubleheader to expand the lead to 3 1/2 games.”
His personal fave: “Goins’ walk off against Cleveland. It was his first one, it happened on the first day of September and got us off to a good start. I was the on-deck hitter so I was the first one to the plate. It sure put a smile on his face.”
The drive gave the Jays a 5-3 win in 10 innings and kept their lead at 1 1/2 games.
Darwin Barney had two homers, both which travelled 369 feet: off Baltimore’s Kevin Gausman as the Jays lost 8-1 in the second game of a doubleheader after clinching the AL East in the opener on Sept. 30 and facing
Enny Romero of Tampa Bay on Sunday.
His personal fave: “Donaldson is our final regular season home game. It kind of typified what I’ve seen. We were down 4-1, we grinded, came back to tie the score. We get to the bottom of the ninth and Josh wins it.
It sort of summed up the team from what I have seen.”
His personal fave: “Donaldson’s final swing ending our home part of the regular season with a homer.”
His personal fave: “I haven’t been here that much, but I saw all the games on TV. Of the games I was here it would have to be Donaldson’s walk off in our final regular-season game. The people stood and waved their rally towels.”
His personal fave: “Donaldson in our final regular season game at home.”
His personal fave: “The Bringer of Rain’s home run in our last home game, our last at-bat to give us the win.”
His personal fave: “Devon Travis’ grand slam in Cleveland. It showed he was a real deal. He hit a bomb to left centre.”
Hitting lead off Travis hit a slam in the six-run fourth to put the Jays up 6-1. Toronto eventually lost 10-7 May 3 to sit in last place 4 1/2 games back.
His personal fave: “Donaldson’s last walk off homer in our the final regular-season home game, with into the game the crowd was and what was at stake. It was a storybook ending.
His personal fave: “Donaldson’s walk-off homer in our final regular season home game ... it’s the last one I can remember.”
His personal fave: “All of Donaldson’s walk off homers, but if I can only pick one it would have to be our final home game. It was fitting. He’s having an MVP year and up he steps with two out, game tied in our last regular-season home game. We expected it, I was sitting beside Dickey. We called it.”
His personal fave: “Bautista against Baltimore after he was knocked down at the Rogers Centre. To be able to hit a home run after you think you have been knocked down ... and he did it earlier in the year facing O’Day.”
His personal fave: “Do you mean of the ones I gave up or ones we hit? Goins’ walk-off against Cleveland. No one was expecting it. It couldn’t happen to a nicer guy, here was a platoon guy getting his chance to play and he delivered.”
His personal fave: “Goins hitting a walk-off against Cleveland. I didn’t think he was going to hit a homer in that situation.”
His personal fave: “Donaldson’s home run in our last regular-season home game. He gave the people what they wanted.”
His personal fave: “Donaldson’s walk off homer in the final regular-season home game ... it sort of summed up the season.”
His personal fave: “The final home game of the season when Donaldson went deep. I was in the dugout since I’d pitched the top of the ninth. I was able to run out there and get into the circle and tab his rib cage along with everyone else.”
His personal fave: “Encarnacion’s third homer which caused the fans to throw hats onto the field.”
His personal fave: “Donaldson’s home run in the final home game of the season.”
His personal fave: “Donaldson’s walk-off homer against Robertson and the White Sox.”
His personal fave: “Donaldson walking off David Robertson and at the time Robertson’s numbers were ridiculous (3-0, 9-for-10 in saves, 29 strikeouts in 18 1/3 innings). He came in and they’re thinking ‘this game is over.’ Not with Josh up.”
His personal fave: “Bautista’s home run in Baltimore after they threw behind him. I wasn’t here but was watching on the Duke campus.”
His personal fave: “Donaldson’s walk off in the final regular-season game. It ended the game, our home schedule. We walked in from the bullpen and the people were cheering us and Donaldson as he did his post-game interview.”
His personal fave: “Goins’ homer to beat the Indians. I had pitched the top of the 10th so I was in the dugout and I could storm the mound.”
His personal fave: “Encarnacion’s three homers in the same game and people throwing their hats on the field. I’ve never seen that before.”
His personal fave: “Donaldson’s walk off the final regular season game. It was insane. Our MVP comes up with the game tied in the bottom of the ninth in the final home game of the year and he performed like an MVP.”